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Kiwis thump Ireland in T20 World Cup

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new_zeal_ire.jpgThe first of the Super Eight matches took place between New Zealand and rank underdogs Ireland at Trent Bridge on Thursday. The toss was won by Ireland and they elected to field first.

New Zealand were without three of their key players - Captain Daniel Vettori, opener Jesse Ryder and batting mainstay Ross Taylor - owing to injuries. Aaron Redmond, who was playing league cricket in England, was drafted into the squad as a replacement for Ryder, while James Franklin got his first game of the tournament as he stepped in for Vettori. Ireland on the other hand, dropped their ineffective pace spearhead, the lanky Boyd Rankin.

New Zealand started off on a really bright note as the ‘emergency' opener Aaron Redmon d showed little sign of nerves and helped himself to some poor stuff dished out by the Irish opening bowlers, picking up five fours of the first seven balls he faced. Brendon McCullum struck the 100th six of the tournament , as the Black Caps raced to 51 without loss after 5 overs. The introduction of spin in the form of Kyle McCallan into the attack paid immediate dividends, as McCullum (10), drove straight to Regan West at mid-off.

Martin Guptill joined Redmond and let the new opener continue to dictate terms in the partnership. A couple of delightful reverse sweeps from Redmond took him to a whirlwind fifty of just 23 balls. He finally paid for his adventurous streak as he got trapped in front of the wicket while walking across his stumps. The damage had beendone though; Redmond's score of 63 of a mere 30 balls including 13 boundaries had taken the score to 91 in just 9 overs. In stepped veteran Scott Styris and he made sure that the momentum stayed with the Kiwis with some lusty blows. However, he holed out in the deep for a well made 42 of just 25 balls. Big Jacob Oram replaced him with nearly five overs to go and departed a bit too early for his team's liking.

The only bowlers for Ireland to have a say in the proceedings were the two spinners - McCallan and West. With the score at 124 at the end of thirteen overs, a huge total looked on the cards; and the Kiwis didn't disappoint.

Guptill with an unbeaten score of 45 of 32 balls ensured that the score moved briskly and the final score of 198 already looked out of the reach of the Irish batsmen.

Under heavy pressure from the start, Ireland weren't helped by the early loss of their captain William Potterfield in a rather unfortunate manner - Kiwi bowler Kyle Mills got his fingertips to a straight drive from Niall O'Brien and the ball ricocheted on to the stumps with Potterfield well short of the crease. O'Brien also didn't last long and holed out to mid off in the third over. The innings was steadied by Wilson and Botha, who took the score to 57 before Wilson departed at a personal score of 23. The fourth wicket fell soon after as Botha ran himself out in his over eagerness to pinch a single. For New Zealand, the introduction of Nathan McCullum (elder brother of the Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum) tightened the screws a fair bit.

Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, much to the chagrin of the Irish camp and they soon found themselves reeling at 66 for the loss of five wickets with nearly nine overs to go. The match was effectively over by then and even the most optimistic of Irish supporters had resigned themselves to their team's fate. Ireland though couldn't stem the flow of wickets as the Kiwi bowlers reduced them to 104 for the loss of eight wickets, with off spinner Nathan McCullum the chief wrecker. New Zealand also didn't rest on their laurels and continued to press, as the significance of a good run rate in the Super Eight stage didn't escape them.

Ireland were finally bundled out for 115 and the Kiwis did themselves a world of good with this big win. It's now up to Sri Lanka and Pakistan to take the gauntlet and respond in a similar vein. In total New Zealand hit 15 fours and 9 sixes in their innings – a combined total of 114 runs, just one fewer than Ireland managed in their reply.

Ireland now travel to London on Friday, where they play their next Super Eight fixture against Sri Lanka at Lord's on Sunday. New Zealand have a big match against Pakistan at the Oval a day sooner. 

Mini Scorecard

New Zealand 198/5 (20 overs)

Redmond 63             McCallan 2-33

Ireland 115 all out (16.4 overs)

Botha 28                 N.McCullum 3-15


Man of the Match: Aaron Redmond

Photograph Courtesy: ICC

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